Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Story, house house (Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki)

I never knew that grocery shopping could be stressful. The simple act of getting products for daily consumption should be fun but can sometimes lead to anger and verbal abuse.

As a newly married girl and living with in-laws, grocery shopping was a tough task for me. Having stayed on my own before marriage, I had my own budget and my own list of things required for survival. The list after marriage was quite dry and uninteresting, who can get excited about buying rice, lentils and oil. In addition, the idea of changing brands I preferred was like giving away my child for adoption. I survived and so did my in-laws, now I am a bit wiser and somewhat flexible.

In India, grocery shopping was once a month chore. Buy raw materials from either a supermarket or your trusted, used for generations’ grocery shop and then transform it into something palatable. In 'phoren' lands, grocery shopping becomes almost a weekly affair and sometimes more often. Since there are no milkmen dropping off packets of milk, storing milk becomes a major concern. Moreover, there are no shops just across the road and no home delivery of grocery, no dialing the phone and saying ‘Bhaiyya, jara ek bread aur sugar bhej denge apartment 18 mein’.
 
The first step is making a list (I always forget to take it with me, but I never forget to make one). This means you go and check all the nooks and crannies in your kitchen closets to check what goes on the ‘To-Buy’ list. Since we are taking pains to reduce our carbon footprint, we carry our own jute bags and say no to plastic (one good deed, a little less guilt), this is the second step. The third step is when we enter the supermarket and Hubs gives me a practiced look of disapproval as I scoot off towards the cosmetics section as if on a treasure hunt (I have obsession about all things which smell nice).

Last week, hubs and I went to for our usual shopping expedition. This time I had asked hubs to check the freezer for stuff we needed. I had friends coming over for a couple of days visit and did not want to run to the supermarket when they were here. Since I had planned to make ‘Matar Paneer’ (Peas and cottage cheese curry), I had asked hubs to check if we had frozen peas. With confidence oozing out of every pore, he had thumped his chest and said ‘ We have one unopened bag of peas’, Looking at his self confidence, I kept my mouth shut in spite of having a funny tingling sensation in my gut, when we were standing right in front of the frozen vegetable section.

The next day, I started cooking a couple of hours before my friends were to arrive. With a song on my lips and a smile on my face, I went to get the ingredients for ‘Matar Paneer’. I dipped my hands in the freezer and pulled out a crumpled bag of peas with a handful of them resting at the bottom. I started rooting around for that mysterious unopened bag. I pulled out frozen mix vegetables, Sweetcorn, peppers, chicken, and a forgotten bag of frozen cauliflower. I emptied the entire freezer and still no sign of the Peas. By this time my worst fears were coming true, I had no peas. I had perfected the recipe and was looking forward to showing it off to my friends so I had to make it.

After flinging, a few choice swear words in hubs direction, I scratched my head and then picked up the bag of frozen mix vegetables. I knew it had a mixture of beans, carrots, Sweetcorn, and peas. Voila! I dumped the entire contents into a pot and saw peas nestled amongst other vegetables. Only thing left was, to go peas picking.

It took me half an hour to separate the peas from its other brethren to get a decent amount along with the handful in the crumpled bag I had found earlier for the curry.
My friends loved the curry and all that hard work paid off.

Note to self: Clean out the freezer more often and always listen to your gut while shopping even if the love of your life is thumping his chest with confidence.

37 comments:

magiceye said...

:) life is a learning curve innit?!!

Raja said...

I don't know who you are, but this post has such humor and such a logical touch that I was feeling it is written by a guy until I read, "even if the love of your life is thumping HIS chest with confidence." :-p
Even the word 'hubs' read odd, by didn't strike me!

Chatterbox said...

Fantastic post :)
I was literally nodding my head all the way through this hilarious post, couldn't agree more on all of it. Making a list every time and forgetting it is something that happens with us all the time.

I could so very well relate to the peas incident :)

Keep up the good work :D

Cheers!!

sushmita said...

ohhhhh god u worked so hard for us ,crazy u........

Rajlakshmi said...

// to go peas picking// lolzzz poor you :D
so finally your efforts pais... you made me hungry now :)

bollywoodstylediaries said...

my rule: never listen to hubby in the kitchen;-)

sonali
http://bollywoodstylediaries.blogspot.com

Kavita M said...

I always make the list and just like you if I forget I am in big trouble. I wish we had the Indian convenience where we can just call and the grocery store would send home whatever we need.

So when are you making matar paneer for all your fans?

Smita said...

Another lesson don't trust the love of your life bole to Men in situations like these!!! Entrust them with cleaning the car, getting it out of the garage, carrying bag et al but not for things which mean looking into the refrigerator and commenting whether a specific thing is in there or not :D They are just not made for it ;-)

As far as I am concerned I forget making the list! Always!

Lakshmi Rajan said...

Ha ha it is always wonderful to read a personal account straight from kitchen laced with humor :)
I should thank my sarts for three reasons: 1. My wife hates shopping :D 2. Miraculously, we always make the right shopping list :P
3. The super market is just round the corner :D , in case of emergency

Farila said...

LOL.. You were smart woman there. Saved the day with quick thinking...
For shopping I never trust anyone other than my gut feeling and my gut makes a lot of mistakes....

AmitL said...

ROFL-LP, this was one nice,eminently enjoyable post.I wish my grocery visits were so funny..(ah well,they used to be, when in the city- standing shopping,while a cow comes up behind and suddenly pulls out the radishes,et al..:))
------
The matar paneer incident-arre,u should've just changed the name to something exotic, you know- like,say Vegetable 65..and informed your friends..though,it must've made a fun sight for ur hubby-watching u picking peas..how was the eyesight after this?

Haddock said...

Yes sometimes its a big chore - the shopping.
I keep a wipe clean board next to the fridge, and write down anything that gets over. So its easy to remember.

Journomuse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Journomuse said...

Living in England has made me a convert...I can swear on frozen vegetables, to my organic mother's utter distate in India.

Unlike when you have a family, fresh veggies just seem to rot ...now frozen veggies in the freezer ensure that everytime I run short of ideas especially for a potluck, a mixed pulao out of the assortment bails me out..:) another discovery is frozen roasted parsnips...

Anirban said...

I actually enjoy grocery shopping, though I admit I'm in the minority there. Nicely written.

On an unrelated note, still getting used to the new design of your blog. Looks good, but I'm missing the obligatory lazy, starfish. ;)

Anirban said...

Aaw c'mon ... read the rest of the comments just now.

Guys can make lists, and go grocery shopping, and cook too. Not all can, but those that have lived on their own for any considerable amount of time have acquired these "survival" skills.

:P

Lazy Pineapple said...

Magiceye: Sure it is :)

Raja: Welcome to my blog :) Oh my....u mean only men can be logical ? tch tch I presume you are not yet married :)

Chatterbox : I am glad you liked it and relate to what I have written :)

Sush: Anything for u sweety :)

Rajlakshmi: hehe so what did you eat ? it was literally peas picking...my fingertips were numb sorting the frozen veggies.

Lazy Pineapple said...

Sonali : heheh I cannot afford that...hubs and I rotate cooking chores as I basically don't like cooking :)

Kavita : when do you plan to come? it would be so wonderful to have the home delivery of food stuff na..

Lazy Pineapple said...

Smita : Ahhh true true...Men are just not made for some things...and sticking to my gut feel is what I do most of the times...

Lakshmi: heheh Till now I used to think you were a woman :P I am glad you liked my post.
Lucky you that your wife hates shopping...you get a free hand which most men do't get :)

Farila : Thanks :) luckily I have an Indian friend living two buildings away. I would hae run to her with my bowl to borrow frozen peas...

Amit: yes...I know cows just grab stuff out of your bag...it is scary and funny at the same time :)
Arre I had not perfected Veg 65 so could not throw that fluke.

AmitL said...

U don't know Vegetable 65?At least, here in restaurants, it's a mix of all the veggies of the previous day...ROFL.,Or,if the cook doesn't know what to call a mix of veggies he made, it's called veggie 65 or 56 or something with numbers.:)

Nish said...

hey...Where is my lovely starfish!!

And hey why you bothered seperating the vegetables Mam..Should have done it bachelor's style and gone for a mixed veg dish..No worries ;P !!!

Lazy Pineapple said...

Anirban : Ouch! I know know men can make lists and do grocery shopping :) its just that most times they either end up buying wrong stuff or just completely forget what is urgently needed :)

About the blog design :) I get restless very fast and have to change it every 2 months...

Amit: I know chicken 65...veg 65 seems to be glorified mix veg :)

Nish : aww sorry Nish I keep changing my blog design :P I can send it the header to you if you want :)
heheh next time will be doing just that or will just dump it on Hubby's head :)

Vyazz said...

I practically sucked at grocery shopping during my six years abroad. They usually say that males are more distracted than females when it comes to shopping. I cannot verify the rule, but it kinda agreed with me, as I would end up buying tons of stuff, I would practically never need, like say tartar sauce, or Russian mayonnaise.
I'm glad to be rid of the shopping debacle, as I no longer have to bother with the intricacies of the household!!!
PS: great to get back to ur blog!!! :D

AmitL said...

Eheyyy...21 votes,with 5.7 rating on Indimag...good going,for the first attempt..

Mr. Stupid said...

Wow. All this for shopping? Wonderfully written.
BTW, I am never invited to a Supermarket. The guy at the counter makes sure nobody like me enters. Clumsy hands can do a lot bad.. hehe

Have a great day!:)

Lazy Pineapple said...

Vyazz: Hey good to see you here. Most of us make these mistakes in the beginning. Buying stuff we will never use. I learnt by practice :)


Amit: Thanks :) yes I am happy...my first attempt was not so bad.

MiSh said...

you been publicly bashing your hubby in most of your posts. He should write a blog to counter-attack.

Lazy Pineapple said...

Mihir: This is not bashing at all....it is all in plain humor and fun...plus he reads all my posts before I post them :P

tikulicious said...

LOL I loved this post. Felt like a chapter from my own story .hehehe we all go through this sometime or other. lovely post. will keep visiting. hugs

Abha said...

You are absolutely right.... here in India we can order grocery by phone and get it delivered. My veggie man home delivers the vegetable and even fruit too, though i prefer to buy fruit myself.

Yes.... shopping for grocery can be a chore. I liked the post .... humorous :)

Lazy Pineapple said...

Tikuli: aha...all women experience the same things :) Thanks a lot....*hugs*

Abha: welcome to my blog :)

When I was in India...I did the same...it was so much easier.
I am glad you liked the post :)

tikulicious said...

LOL I loved this post. Felt like a chapter from my own story .hehehe we all go through this sometime or other. lovely post. will keep visiting. hugs

AmitL said...

U don't know Vegetable 65?At least, here in restaurants, it's a mix of all the veggies of the previous day...ROFL.,Or,if the cook doesn't know what to call a mix of veggies he made, it's called veggie 65 or 56 or something with numbers.:)

Lakshmi Rajan said...

Ha ha it is always wonderful to read a personal account straight from kitchen laced with humor :)
I should thank my sarts for three reasons: 1. My wife hates shopping :D 2. Miraculously, we always make the right shopping list :P
3. The super market is just round the corner :D , in case of emergency

Kavita M said...

I always make the list and just like you if I forget I am in big trouble. I wish we had the Indian convenience where we can just call and the grocery store would send home whatever we need.

So when are you making matar paneer for all your fans?

zephyr said...

That was sure funny! Poor you, with frozen fingers after 'pea-picking'! Moral of the story: Never trust the bitter half on such 'important' matters. Will visit again!

Do visit me at http://cybernag.wordpress.com

The Ketchup Girl said...

lazy P, this post resonates with me like how!! you must read this post i wrote- pati patni aur groceries. http://www.butkintuparantu.com/2009/09/pati-patni-aur-groceries.html do read! :D

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